Education

  • Schools Start Financial-Literacy Requirements

    The financial-reform bill signed into law last week includes a section on dangerous mortgages, with a provision for educating the elderly, the poor, minorities, those with language barriers, and “other potentially vulnerable consumers.” Who’s not mentioned but should be? The young. Among unemployed Americans ages 18 to 29, more than a quarter are behind on mortgage payments, one 2009 study found, and this group also has soaring credit-card debt and bankruptcy rates.
  • Should Seniority Count in Teacher Layoffs?

    Education reformers were feeling optimistic. With President Obama’s Race to the Top competition, which offers financial rewards to states willing to hold teachers accountable for their students’ performance, they’ve made real progress in weeding out poor teachers.
  • The Creativity Crisis

    Back in 1958, Ted Schwarzrock was an 8-year-old third grader when he became one of the “Torrance kids,” a group of nearly 400 Minneapolis children who completed a series of creativity tasks newly designed by professor E. Paul Torrance. Schwarzrock still vividly remembers the moment when a psychologist handed him a fire truck and asked, “How could you improve this toy to make it better and more fun to play with?”
  • Teachers' Union Anger Mounts for an Administration It Helped to Elect

    The theme of this year’s national teachers' union conventions was anger, particularly at President Obama, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and reformers in general. But American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten’s decision to emphasize collaboration rather than opposition to reform efforts could well boost her national image as the union leader the administration can work with.
  • The Boom in Online Courses

    Last month on the Daily Show, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty predicted the rise of “iCollege,” a Web-based model of higher education that students could download for $199 rather than “haul their keister” to class. Many academics snarled back (“pedagogical dystopia,” one Cornell professor called it), since the idea seems to minimize the role of live student-teacher exchanges. But Pawlenty’s vision already has some lofty adherents. Pennsylvania’s university system is considering making its language courses online only; Indiana recently added an “affordable” Web-based campus; and Yale Law School is sharing resources with the University of the People, a pioneering “global college” that’s tuition-free and totally online.
  • Can Legislation Fix the U.S. Science Gender Gap?

    In 1972, when Mae Jemison was just 16 years old, she arrived at Stanford University, where she intended to pursue a degree in engineering. But it wasn’t long after arriving in Palo Alto that she learned that the university’s science departments weren’t nearly as enthusiastic about her as she was about them.
  • The New Segregation Debate

    Single-sex classes have increased by 4,000 percent in less than a decade. Can educating girls and boys separately fix our public schools, or does it reinforce outmoded gender stereotypes?
  • Kirk Accused of Exaggerating His Teaching Record

    Mark Kirk, the Republican contender for Barack Obama's former Illinois Senate seat, had previously misrepresented his military service in the course of campaigning. Now his oft-recalled time as a teacher is being questioned too.
  • Charter Schools Often Worse Than Public Schools

    Some 15 of NEWSWEEK’s top 100 public high schools are charter schools. Since charter schools amount to only about 4 percent of all public schools, that would seem to suggest that charter schools are a runaway success story, right?
  • Quiz: Guess Which Celebs Were High-School Nerds?

    Can you guess which of America's favorite entrepreneurs, celebrities, and athletes were nerds in high school? Take our quiz to find out what these stars were like as teens and where their high school ranks on NEWSWEEK's 2010 America's Best High Schools list.
  • Breaking the Teacher Unions' Monopoly

    As a result of a revolutionary new contract, teachers in who are rated incompetent can be fired immediately—a practice common in industry but unheard of in American public schools.
  • Book Q&A: 'Making Ideas Happen'

    Thomas Edison said genius is 1 percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration. Starting a new business takes more than just an idea; executing it is what counts. In his new book, Making Ideas Happen, author Scott Belsky explains how creative types need to learn how to get things done.
  • In Defense of Teachers

    For the vast majority of public-school teachers, so much of their job is out of their control that asking them to be held accountable for their students’ performance is tantamount to blaming car salesmen for Toyota’s accelerator problems.
  • Pink Slips Latest Proof of Anti-Spending Pressure

    Nobody likes the prospect of financially pressed school districts handing out thousands of pink slips to teachers, but Democrats’ proposal for a $23 billion bailout attracted so many critics early on that it seemed doomed from the start, despite energetic lobbying by teachers' unions and congressional educational leaders....
  • Arne Duncan Dodges Standardized Test Question

    Secretary Arne Duncan went on CNN this morning to promote the Department of Education's newly expanded Teacher Incentive Fund, which will award $437 million in grants to educators who markedly improve student performance. The measuring stick? According to an official DOE press release, the proposed incentive plans must "use fair and transparent evaluations based on multiple measures including student growth." ...
  • By The Numbers: Investing In Innovation

    Just as the rest of the world is prioritizing innovation, American businesses are de-emphasizing it and focusing on quick-payback investments, according to a new study of corporate priorities from the Boston Consulting Group: 92 Percentage of Chinese firms that say innovation is a top priority, up from 70percent in 2008. 79 Percentage of Indian firms that say innovation is a top priority, up from 73percent in 2008. 76 Percentage of French and British firms that say innovation is a top priority, up from 63percent in 2008. 61 Percentage of U.S. firms that say innovation is a top priority, down from 63percent in 2008. BCG 2010 Senior Executive Innovation Survey
  • Will Obama Take Next Step on Teachers?

    States and school districts across the country are about to lay off boatloads of teachers if something isn't done soon. Worse, outdated seniority rules mean that many of the best younger teachers will lose their jobs first. Some "teachers of the year" have already received pink slips. Fortunately there's something we can do about it if Washington has the guts. ...
  • Now That the Arizona Immigration Bill Is Law, What Next?

    Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer just signed into law the controversial immigration bill that has drawn national scrutiny and triggered furious protests. "I firmly believe it represents what's best for Arizona," she said. The bill "strengthens the laws of our state. It protects all of us." And, she added, "it does so while ensuring the constitutional rights of all in Arizona remain solid, stable, and steadfast."...
  • Why Obama Shouldn't NOT Pick an Ivy League Justice

    Finally, Democrats and Republicans agree on something. Too bad it's not something worth agreeing on. In Washington, D.C., a bipartisan consensus seems to be forming around the idea that President Obama should choose a judge without an Ivy League education to replace John Paul Stevens. Last Sunday, Bill Kristol--who went to Harvard (both undergrad and grad), married a fellow Harvard alum, and sent his son to Harvard--urged the president via FOX News to select a non-Ivyite for the post, saying that "it would be good to have a nominee that stood up against powerfulinterests like the elite law schools, which... have done a lot of damage." Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported a few days later that "many" Senate Democrats have a "particular preference" for "a nominee who comes from outside the usual background of Ivy League law schools." As Chuck Schumer--Harvard College, Harvard Law--put it, "I've always liked someone with...
  • A New Reason Not to Teach Evolution to Kids: It's 'Philosophically Unsatisfactory'

    Here is a vignette from a small newspaper  that will sound familiar to Southerners like me who were taught creationism in school:Mark Tangarone, who teaches third, fourth, and fifth grade students in the Talented and Gifted (TAG) program at Weston Intermediate School, said he is retiring at the end of the current school year because of a clash with the school administration over the teaching of evolution . . . In an e-mail to Mr. Tangarone dated Sept. 8, 2008, [the school superintendent] rejected the basic program, citing for the most part the teaching of evolution: "While evolution is a robust scientific theory, it is a philosophically unsatisfactory explanation for the diversity of life. I could anticipate that a number of our parents might object to this topic as part of a TAG project . . . The TAG topics need to be altered this year to eliminate the teaching of Darwin's work and the theory of evolution." And here is something that makes this story a bit less...

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